WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
CHOCOLAT 8.45PM, GEM Sumptuous, sensuous fairytale set in a sleepy French village in the late 1950s. Juliette Binoche opens a chocolate shop, the produce of which packs an unmistakably aphrodisiac wallop. A goodnatured confection (with a few swirls of drama blended in for good measure). Co-stars Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Lena Olin.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN 9.30PM, ONE The Coen brothers ( Fargo) returned to brilliant form with this haunting, hard-bitten and incongruously affecting chase flick based on the Cormac McCarthy novel. Josh Brolin stars as a Texas hunter who happens across $2 million in a briefcase, and a frightening Javier Bardem plays a merciless killer out to retrieve the cash. Though several scenes are extremely violent and unapologetically amoral, there is a chilling composure that will not be denied. Highly recommended.
ROBOCOP 2 9.30PM, GO Stick with me here only if you’re into cyborgs and sequels. Basically, a fresh crime wave in Detroit means the creators of the original crime-fighter RoboCop go back to build a new-and-improved version (imaginatively dubbed RoboCop 2) to sort it out. Unfortunately it malfunctions and goes rogue, forcing original RoboCop (Peter Weller) to take on not only the crime wave, but also his demented “brother”.
THE MATRIX: RELOADED 8.30PM, GO It seems like eons ago that TheMatrix burst from nowhere to become one of the most stylistically and
thematically influential works in movie history. It wasn’t just film fans who fell under the spell of this trippy, aggressively adventurous dose of hi-fi sci-fi. Everyone from fashion designers to government surveillance agencies – and of course other filmmakers – were aping its every move. Heck, people were even saying Keanu Reeves could act. TheMatrix: Reloaded was time to put up or shut up time for the brains behind the franchise, the writing/directing Wachowski brothers. They respond to the challenge in typically cavalier fashion. These guys are in a league of their own, and so too is Reloaded. Definitely warrants repeat viewing.
THE MEXICAN 9PM, ONE TheMexican could have just put Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts together and let the superstar sparks fly. But director Gore Verbinski doesn’t take the easy way home. He keeps the pair apart for much of this
surprisingly edgy left-ofcentre road movie and much more of a punch is packed as a result. Though Pitt and Roberts – superbly cast as off-again, on-again lovers Jerry Welbach and Samantha Barzel – have their moments together at either end of a rather ropey caper tale, it is not their stellar pairing that will stay in your mind. What burns its own unique niche in the memory is Roberts’ unlikely chemistry with James Gandolfini (of TV’s TheSopranos), who virtually steals TheMexican from under the noses of the movie’s big names while playing a sensitive hit man named Leroy.
THE AMERICAN NOON, SEVEN An unashamedly dour, yet wholly satisfying thriller. George Clooney plays Jack, a black-ops assassin who wants out of the pay-to-slay business. To ensure his exit, all he has to do is cool his heels in a sleepy Italian village, and
manufacture a weapon for a fellow agent. Much of The American plays out in a state of wearying, worrying silence. Jack is a man alone with his thoughts. And his thoughts are nobody’s idea of great company. Look hard at Clooney’s uncharacteristically remote (and highly effective) performance, and you are sure to be intrigued, alarmed and surprised by what is on Jack’s mind.
CLICK 8.30PM, 7MATE Look out, everyone! Adam Sandler has a magic remotecontrol to manipulate life as if it were pre-recorded TV! A catchy little idea for a comedy catches a bad attack of the sads at the halfway mark, where the filmmakers mistakenly think it’s time for some drama and a few lessons about the human condition. We like our Sandler films simple and stupid, thanks very much. Co-stars Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken.
Dangerous business: George Clooney plays an assassin ready to leave the killing game in TheAmerican.